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We insist that you watch Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Here are 10 reasons why we think this indie film is great and why you should see it. Check it out below!
1. Quvenzhané Wallis (pronounced Qui-ven-ZHEN-ay).
What are we doing with our lives? Wallis, the youngest Academy Award best actress nominee embodies everything great about this film. Playing the feisty Hushpuppy, she roars piercing battle cries, chews voraciously, sprints through the unforgiving landscape of “The Bathtub,” and is jarringly profound when she speaks. She uttered early on, “I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.” Simply put-she will make you cry.
2. Dwight Henry makes an amazing debut.
Mr. Henry’s film debut is one of the rawest and most emotionally palpable performances we have ever seen. He is criminally underrated and not earning nearly enough plaudits for his performance as Hushpuppy’s father. Above all , he lived an amazing life that resonates very much with the narrative of the film. Keep your eyes on this wonderful baker, actor and human being.
3. Benh Zeitlin is the director.
Our young auteur has brilliantly melded fantastical elements with a gripping survival story. In every instance of the film, Zeitlin challenged our value system but refused our sympathy. We are so excited to see what Zeitlin makes next.
4. The Score
Listen to this sample of music from the movie.
5. The Cinematography is breathtaking.
Click here to view a beautiful example of cinematography used to capture the true essence of the movie.
6. The film challenged our value system.
Throughout the film, Zeitlin forced us to look at the innards of dead animals and unsanitary living practices. This makes audiences uncomfortable because we have preconceived notions about parenting, poverty, sickness, and squalor. On the surface, “Beasts” calls attention to the ways in which our engineering and political choices have real physical and economic affects on people and the environment. On a deeper level, it forces us to realize that our lives are not the high watermark of how all humans should live. In addition, we learn that there is no watermark.
7. Inner strength
“They think we’re all gonna drown down here. But we ain’t going nowhere”. Beasts is also an allegory about the importance of fighting and moving forward despite the currents. Hushpuppy, with her infinite childhood wisdom says, “everybody loses the thing that made them. It’s even how it’s supposed to be in nature. The brave men stay and watch it happen, they don’t run.” With the metaphorical aurochs coming for Hushpuppy to the outsiders from the hospitals, this film is peppered with examples of how the human spirit deals with duress.
8. The Bathtub
There is a sheer sense of magic and fairytale within the Bathtub, the stretch of land just outside the Louisiana bayou that is home to many including Wink and Hushpuppy. “The Bathtub has more holidays than the rest of the world,” Hushpuppy says in the beginning. She’s correct.
9. The film shows the real outlook of poverty
None of the presidential nominees last year talked about poverty in their campaigns. How rare is it in this country when there is some sort of discussion on the issue? According to critics, Zeitlin glamorized poverty in Beasts, but the reality is that many people have drawn away from “civilization”. There are many real life Bathtubs and similar enclaves forming in America today. Even more crucial, no film has ever so clearly portrayed how outcasts view our exalted institutions.
The Bathtub schoolteacher imparts on the children in one scene, “Y’all learn to take care of the things that are smaller and sweeter than you.” This is a resilient community, not only fighting external forces, but also setting the foundations for the future. The Bathtub is their home, just as precious to them as ours is to us, and it is worth fighting for.